Northwestern’s “Diversity” Requirement

After a solid year of daily announcements and grievances regarding diversity at Northwestern, it seems that this obsession could be here for a long time, and new policies and ideas are being brought forth every other week, the holy grail of which is the ‘Social Inequalities and Diversity’ course requirement.

If the diversity obsession has taught me anything, it is that Northwestern students are completely incapable of handling the slightest racial tension.  Any incident is taken as a sign that we are racially insensitive and discriminatory on a daily basis.  Northwestern has more than 8000 undergraduate students, all coming from very different backgrounds, many monoracial.  Students tend to assimilate with those who share a common background or ideas, and there is nothing wrong with that.  It is natural.  As a result, there will be racial friction from time to time, someone will unknowingly say something offensive to someone else.  The entire world works that way, and it is foolish to believe “insensitivities” can be completely eradicated from any culture. In fact, Northwestern is probably far more racially diverse and tolerant than anywhere we will go after graduation.

But for those who believe insensitivities can and should be eliminated, the diversity course requirement is the perfect solution.  What could work better than having the Northwestern administration (big brother bureaucracy) indoctrinate racism out of us?  ‘Indoctrination’ leaves a bad taste in most people’s mouths, which is why no one is willing to call it that.  But that is what this requirement is leading to.  I don’t think trying to force students to think a certain way is appropriate for an institution advocating freedom of thought and expression.  In my opinion, this requirement will only magnify racial tensions because of that very reason.  When it comes to opinions and philosophy, people do not appreciate being told how to think.

But regardless of that, this entire diversity movement fails to address to true meaning of diversity.  At Northwestern, it currently regards only racial and socio-economic minorities, or rather ‘underrepresented  students.’  (I actually think this term is inaccurate since Northwestern’s demographics do not even remotely resemble that of America overall.)  I wonder if this requirement will include educating students on unfamiliar religions, or perhaps teaching liberal students about conservative and libertarian ideas, or maybe teaching students from urban backgrounds about rural life, or even exposing black, Hispanic, and international students to European culture and history as well.

No, I don’t imagine those options will be part of the indoctrination requirement, but if this were a legitimate discussion about addressing diversity and inclusion, they would be.  Alas, the requirement will achieve little more than greater tensions and a good feeling for those wanting to make a difference.

Judging from what I’ve seen happen here on campus, I will probably be called racist and someone with white privilege because of this article, but that’s ok.  The diversity movement will never have true legitimacy until its advocates are willing to have an unbiased, intellectual discussion with opponents about the issue, rather than the personal attacks that tend to accompany dissent.

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